Don't compel the governor to lose touchI was amused by...

the Forum

March 14, 1991

Don't compel the governor to lose touch

I was amused by your story (March 12) of Governor Schaefer's visit to "Con" Hourihan, who has obviously now received his reward here on Earth - a picture and story on the front page of The Sun and a full-color picture and story on Pag 1 of The Evening Sun.

There are a few items, however, that your story did not point out

which I think are worthy of consideration:

Many politicians and public figures have arranged their offices so they are insulated from letters (particularly critical ones) from the public. William Donald Schaefer - as councilman, council president, mayor and governor - has always insisted on reading his own mail. It is one way he learns what is on people's minds.

Throughout his 35-year public career, Governor Schaefer has taken the time and made the extra effort to visit hundreds of people who have written him. He has always believed that he has learned and benfited from these exchanges. I have always found it somewhat charming and encouraging that someone so obviously busy would care enough to want to hear what is on people's minds.

Let's stop the cheap shots. You have now taken away his right to telephone the public or write letters to express himself. Does he now have to stay home? Must he now be so isolated from the people he has served so well over the years that his only source of information would be the newspapers?

God forbid.

Christopher C. Hartman

Baltimore

Repatriation?

According to the rules of the Geneva Convention, a prisoner of war is to be repatriated.

Should Saddam's regime continue intact, what might be in store for an Iraqi soldier who is suspected, upon or after surrendering, of disloyalties?

Although the following deals neither with these rules nor with POWs, it is otherwise a parallel example under another paranoid despot, Stalin. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn writes in "The Gulag Archipelago": "... not less than one million fugitives from the Soviet government ... in 1946-1947 were perfidiously returned by Allied authorities into Soviet hands." Most had personal grievances only; a footnote concludes, "They were all sent to destruction."

Alternatively, there is the precedent between the U.S. and North Korea in 1953, coincidentally involving the U.N., whereby a POW is not involuntarily repatriated; 8,000 North Korean, 15,000 Chinese (357 Allied, including 21 American) POWs refused.

R. D. Reese

Baltimore

Quality lacking

When speaking of the high-tech weapons that won the war for us and our allies, President Bush urged the same high-tech expertise be applied to our domestic affairs, and he is right.

Why have manufacturers applied their knowledge only to "perfecting" inferior products that are "programmed" to last only a short time, thus assuring the makers of a steady market? Where is pride in workmanship? Why in this age of supposed technical know-how can we find nothing but inferior products in the marketplace?

Blanche K. Coda

Baltimore

Looking back

An article in the Feb. 22 Evening Sun cited some classroo populations which caused me to get out my 1958 school memories yearbook from Dundalk Elementary School. We had an average of 33.75 students per class for the eight sections in my sixth grade; if we exclude one section with only 22 students, the average worked out to 35.43 for the remaining seven classes.

The article related the refusal of the school board to accept a $1.4 million budget cut which would mean hiring 35 fewer teachers and increase class sizes by an average of one-tenth of a student in elementary and high schools. The proponent of the cut stated that a similar cut for the next 10 years would only increase class size by one student, and it would help build the 12 schools believed to be needed for 40,000 more students by the year 2000.

Reportedly, Robert Dubel, Baltimore County superintendent, called the proposal "an infinitesimal step backward, but a step backward."

If we take a giant step back to 1958 and my educational experience in this county, we find a bunch of baby boomers in a class that had 41 percent more people than today's "overcrowded" rooms. (Those numbers were consistent through high school.)

Dennis R. McCartney

Dundalk

Women in war

Women are now serving in the armies of quite a number of states. I have observed women in military uniform in the United States, in Israel and British women in Ireland. Some women are enthusiastic about becoming soldiers, and there is no predominant public opposition to such service.

Male members of the armed forces are learning to accept women in their ranks and even as officers who command men. There is some repugnance expressed in public from time to time to the use of women in actual combat. However, the recent action in the Persian Gulf has blurred the line between combat and supportive action so that there has been no considerable opposition to the deaths of women in support services who have been killed in combat areas by weapons fired in combat. What is in the next step?

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